Emotion spurs Raiders' Croker to NRL highs
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says the disappointment shown by Jarrod Croker after missing two golden chances to put Manly to bed is why he is the game's best.
Canberra captain Jarrod Croker's bitter disappointment over missing two chances to bury Manly is what makes him the NRL's most prolific scorer, according to coach Ricky Stuart.
Croker cut a forlorn figure after the Raiders lost 20-18 to the Sea Eagles in golden point at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
The Canberra skipper missed a conversion which would have taken them six points ahead with five minutes of regulation time to play, opening the door for Manly who hit back with a try to fullback Tom Trbojevic.
Incredibly, Sea Eagles centre Dylan Walker missed his kick to take the game into extra time.
Croker had a gilt-edged opportunity early in golden point, finding himself three-on-one 10 metres from the tryline before losing his footing.
Walker sunk the Raiders with a penalty goal minutes later, leaving Croker to rue his missed chances.
"No one's hurt more than me," Croker said.
"I had two chances there to win the game for the boys and I couldn't get through.
"We've got to get over it pretty quick and move forward."
Stuart said Croker's soaring scoring tally was down to how hard he is on himself.
"His emotion now is why he's the highest pointscorer in the game - because he takes it hard," Stuart said.
The coach said he preferred to think about the matches Croker had won through his individual efforts rather than dwell on what might have been.
The Raiders slumped to 4-4 after their third tight loss for the season, with two decided in golden point and a late field goal the difference against Brisbane.
While Stuart was pleased with his side's effort against Manly, the Raiders are under no illusions about how difficult fulfilling lofty expectations will be in 2017.
"It's a tough comp," Stuart said.
"You know each week you put your boots on and it's going to be a tough game of football.
"The day you put your boots on and I think 'we should win today, I'll take a shortcut', you're going to get a kick in the bum."
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